UNDER PRESSURE

As you might have gleaned by now, when there’s a story to tell about Hollywood, I’m inclined to change the names and mix it up a bit to protect the innocent. What follows is mostly true, except what’s not.

Bill Aagard, a first time film director, met Tessa Moynihan, a production coordinator, at a budget meeting for a film called, “Double Down”, it had something to do with Vegas and the mob and a group of card cheats. Bill had started as a fashion photographer; he progressed to videos and ads, and because of his sensually textured imagery he was tapped to direct a low budget, high concept film for Fox Searchlight.

The problem, as usual, with making the movie came down to finances. Although Bill took up a lot of space, topping out above six feet, and stood erect, with an athlete’s poise, he was surprisingly docile when confronted with cuts to his project. He didn’t like discord, he was a gentleman, his nature was to please and coming from the world of promotions he never had the occasion to quarrel over money. When the producer informed him that he’d have no camera crane, no access to extras for his teeming casino, and for that matter only two walls of a set for a pivotal scene, he said, “We’ll figure it out”. He then walked down the hall, closed the door to his office and silently cried.

Unbeknownst to him he was being tailed. Tessa Moynihan, sensing his distress, paused a moment by the door, she raised her hand to knock, and immediately she reconsidered and walked right in. What she saw was startling. Bill’s broad shoulders were shaking and his handsome face was beet red and marred by tears.

Tessa closed the door quickly behind her and stated, “Mister Aagard, may I call you Bill? You have got to butch it up!” Bill wiped the tears from his eyes with the back of his hand. He had gone numb and was seriously considering whether he should curl up and take a nap, or get something to eat, preferably cake. “Can I give you a little advice?” she continued.

“I thought you just did,” Bill responded.

“No. Really. These people expect you to bite back.”

“Won’t you sit down?” Manners always trumped tears with Bill.

Tessa plunked herself down on his desktop. “Listen. It’s a game – if you don’t play – they don’t respect you. It’s all about pecking order. Assistants, like me, or like I used to be last week, we get cold coffee and glitchy BlackBerries tossed at our heads, and we catch, we deal, and we make the coffee hot and roll the calls. But you’re a pitcher…”

“Oh, God! Baseball metaphors. I hate baseball,” Bill moaned.

To be continued today at noon, Pacific Time…

© Vickie Lester and Beguiling Hollywood, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (text) without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Vickie Lester and Beguiling Hollywood with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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